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Cigar Review: Davidoff Year of the Rooster Limited Edition 2017

16 Jan 2017

Year of the Rooster

Year of the Rooster is Davidoff’s fifth annual international release celebrating Chinese New Year with its sign of the zodiac. Like the earlier releases, it is a limited edition with special aged tobaccos and a high price tag.

The cigar itself is a 6.75-inch diadema with a ring gauge of 50. The white Davidoff band is offset with a secondary red and gold one highlighting the cigar’s name and a drawing of a rooster. Eight thousand of the striking 10-count red lacquered boxes were produced, with the per-stick price set at $40.

The wrapper is an Ecuadorian Habano-seed leaf, with a Dominican San Vicente binder and Dominican filler, which Davidoff identifies as Piloto Seco, San Vicente Visus, Piloto Visus, and Criollo Seco.

I smoked two for this review and was impressed. Admitting up front that I’m no expert on Cuban cigars, I found the Rooster to be reminiscent of some of the best Cubans I’ve smoked.

It started a little peppery with medium strength and shifted after about an inch to a nutty flavor with some fruit-like notes. About halfway through, I began to pick up some vanilla and cedar added to the mix as the strength increased. The last half or so was also marked by a rich tobacco sweetness.

Like so many Davidoff cigars, the Rooster is incredibly smooth, balanced, and easy to smoke. The draw and burn were near perfect throughout.

Of course, the price tag puts this cigar out of reach for many smokers, except possibly as a celebration candidate. Is it worth $40? Is a lousy cigar worth $3? Is a mediocre cigar worth $8? Those are questions that cigar smokers have to decide for themselves.

But, if you’re a Davidoff fan or like to sample small production cigars, I think you’ll want to try one. I found it exemplary and rate it four and a half stogies out of five.

[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here.]

George E

photo credit: Davidoff

Cigar Review: Nestor Miranda Collection Corojo Robusto

11 Jan 2017

nm-corojo-1

A spicy Nicaraguan Corojo wrapper so oily you might fear it’ll slide through your fingers highlights the latest release in the Nestor Miranda Collection from Miami Cigar & Co. It also makes for a tasty, satisfying cigar.

nestor-mirandaSporting the line’s trademark Art Deco style foil bands with electric-yellow highlights, Corojo is the fourth in the collection. Like the others, it is rolled at the My Father Cigars factory and comes in four sizes with MSRPs ranging from $7.50 to $9.50.

The line is named for Miami Cigar’s gregarious president and co-founder. Vice president Jason Wood said in a press release that Miranda had been “adamant about introducing his beloved Corojo wrapper to the collection.”

It was introduced at this summer’s industry trade show in Las Vegas and recently began shipping to merchants. The short Robusto—4.5 inches long with a ring gauge of 50—is firmly packed with Nicaraguan filler that exudes a nutty pre-light aroma. The first smoking impression is the pepper common to Corojo tobacco.

Along the way, I also experienced spice, a little cedar, burned coffee, and a rich tobacco sweetness. The three I smoked for this review each had an excellent draw. None exhibited the burn difficulties sometimes associated with Corojo tobacco.

The ash was ivory white and held firmly until I tapped it off. The burn was slow, extending the smoking time beyond what might be expected, given the cigar’s length. I’d put the strength level in the upper-medium to full category, as it tends to build along the way.

StogieGuys.com has smoked and reviewed many Miami Cigar & Co. productions over the years. They include several from the Nestor Miranda Collection since it was repackaged and re-blended in 2014.

This is the best in that line. And the Robusto format seems to take advantage of all it has to offer. I rate this a strong four stogies out of five.

[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here.]

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Review: La Aurora 107 Cosecha 2006 Especial Corona Gorda

9 Jan 2017

LaAuroraCosechaLa Aurora has again expanded its well-regarded 107 line that debuted in 2010 as an anniversary smoke. The Cosecha is a limited edition with tobaccos from 2006, hence the Cosecha name, Spanish for “harvest.”

There are three sizes, each packaged in ten-count boxes: Robusto Especial (5 x 54), Corona Gorda Especial (6 x 47), and Churchill Especial (7 x 50). Per-stick prices are $9, $10, and $11, respectively. It’s distinguished from the regular 107 line by a second identifying band.

So far, 107 Cosecha isn’t featured on either the La Aurora website or that of Miami Cigar & Co., La Aurora’s U.S. distributor.

The wrapper is a Habana seed grown in Ecuador. Binder is Brazilian Mata Fina with filler from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. The wrapper doesn’t provide much pre-light aroma, but an almost cherry-like sweetness comes off the filler.

I got more fruit notes smoking through the first third. Occasionally, there was a papery overtone that, fortunately, didn’t last long. Pepper came and went, building into the final half. Other flavors I picked up were burned coffee and wood.

Strength was medium, with a light finish. Construction was excellent, as is to be expected from cigars coming from La Aurora’s Dominican factory. The burn was very slow, making for a smoking experience considerably longer than that of most cigars this size. One annoyance was a fairly loose ash.

These days, limited editions in the $9 to $11 range are fairly limited themselves, whether they deserve a higher price tag or not. That in itself is likely to entice quite a few cigar smokers, especially those already familiar with La Aurora’s broad array of smokes.

If you measure cigar palate impact in megatons, the Cosecha isn’t likely to make your needle move. But if you enjoy cigars further down on the power scale, I recommend checking out this offering. I also have a feeling it will improve with age, possibly eliminating that papery taste.

I give the La Aurora 107 Cosecha 2006 Especial Corona Gorda three and a half stogies out of five.

[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here.]

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: CLE Chele Robusto

8 Jan 2017

Each Saturday and Sunday we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

chele-1

This new offering from Christian Eiroa is a box-pressed beauty partially wrapped in tissue paper with a striking blue and silver band. The blend is an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper around Nicaraguan filler and binder, creating more pepper and kick—and more smoking interest—than might typically be expected of a Connecticut cigar. Construction and smoke production in the Robusto (5 x 50) was excellent. It’s a tasty treat, well worth the list price of around $7.

Verdict = Buy.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Dunhill Aged Maduro Short Robusto

7 Jan 2017

Each Saturday and Sunday we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

dunhill-maduro

This new Dunhill line—the brand’s first maduro—was introduced last summer in three sizes. The extremely dark wrapper encloses what distributor General Cigar calls “the classic Dunhill Aged blend” of Dominican leaves. If you’re a maduro fan, you’ll almost certainly enjoy the characteristic flavors of coffee, cocoa, and tobacco sweetness with a little added kick. It’s especially one to consider by those in colder climes seeking a quicker winter smoke. The drawback is the $10.45 price, but you’ll find boxes of 10 online at less than $6.50 per stick.

Verdict = Buy.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

StogieGuys.com’s Top Cigars of 2016 (Part II)

29 Dec 2016

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This year’s collection of our highest-rated cigars is, like those in the past, a small set of the many we smoked. Only four achieved the heralded five-stogie rating.

That is two fewer than in 2015 and one below the 2014 number, but double that of 2013.

Obviously, a cigar needs special qualities to get such a high rating. We define them as “tasty, complex … truly an occasion” and worthy of “your full and undivided attention.”

Each year’s stellar crop is different from the past, and 2016 is no exception.

Warped Futuro Selección Suprema

First up is the Warped Futuro Selección Suprema. This Nicaraguan puro represents a collaboration between Warped and Casa Fernandez and is said to use rare Aganorsa tobacco. This vitola is 5.625 inches long with a ring gauge of 46 and an MSRP of $8.75. The review noted that it “starts with an initial burst of creaminess before it settles into a woody flavor with light spice and hints of honey. Occasionally, I even pick up on a combination of flavors that reminds me of banana bread.”

Paul Garmirian 25th Anniversary Connoisseur

Even a casual StogieGuys.com reader would likely be aware of our affinity for PG Cigars. They consistently rank among our favorites, and the Paul Garmirian 25th Anniversary Connoisseur did so in March. Released in a single size (6 x 52) with undisclosed details on the tobaccos, this toro was “characterized by restrained strength. You get the distinct sense that if it had been rushed at all the Connoisseur would have had some rough edges, but instead the full-bodied woodiness is tempered by a cornucopia of other subtle flavors. While $19 is a lot for a cigar, and you’d expect a lot for such a premium price, the PG 25th Anniversary delivers.”

Aging Room Cigars Bin No. 1 B Minor

The next cigar to gain five stogies in 2016 was an echo from an earlier year. Aging Room Cigars Bin No. 1 B Minor was a four-star stogie in 2014 and moved up after aging in my humidor. “All that made the Bin No. 1 such an enjoyable smoke seemed to be sanded down just a tad and locked together in a velvety, even experience,” I wrote. “I couldn’t help but think of the spice and sweetness as having become intertwined in some sort of cigar smoke double helix.” At 6.125 inches long with a ring gauge of 52, it has an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper with Dominican filler and binder. The retail price is about $12.50.

E.P. Carrillo Short Run 2016

The final five-stogie smoke for the year was the E.P. Carrillo Short Run 2016, a limited edition in a line that Ernesto Perez-Carrillo introduced in 2010, not long after starting his new company. With an Ecuadorian wrapper around Nicaraguan tobaccos, this toro-sized (6 x 52) smoke costs $12 and earned high praise in the review: “Exquisite in every way while maintaining incredible balance and offering rare subtlety, I have no reservations about awarding this triumph a rare rating of five stogies out of five.”

To find all our previous five-stogie cigars, click here. And you can read about the StogieGuys.com rating system here.

Here’s to even more great smokes in 2017!

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

StogieGuys.com’s Top Cigars of 2016 (Part I)

26 Dec 2016

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Each year, we round up the top cigars we reviewed over the past 12 months. Only a small number generate our highest rating: five stogies out of five, which signifies a cigar experience that is “truly an occasion” and worthy of your “full and undivided attention.”

Quite a few more cigars come close, rating four-and-a-half stogies out of five. This year, that honor went to a dozen cigars. It’s a rather remarkable mix, encompassing new and older smokes, high-end and budget price tags, small manufacturers and large operations, and limited editions along with wide releases. There’s a variety of tobacco blends, sizes, and strengths as well. During the year, we also awarded 43 cigars four stogies.

Since we don’t hew to a particular number, our top selections vary annually. Last year, for example, five cigars received five stogies, while 16 got four-and-a-half and 40 got four. The lineup in 2014 was four at the top and 15 with four-and-a-half. In 2013, just two got five-stogie ratings and 15 got four-and-a-half.

Here’s an alphabetical look at our selection of four-and-a-half stogies in 2016. We’ll follow up in a couple days with the year’s five-stogie smokes.

Black Label Trading Company NBK“I’m enamored with the flavors, I love the size, and I have no complaints about the presentation or physical properties.”

Davidoff Colorado Claro Aniversario No. 3“All in all, it is an excellent cigar, one with the complexity and strength to please a seasoned smoker while remaining accessible to a newcomer.”

Drew Estate Florida Sun Grown Limited Edition Trunk-Pressed Toro“The Florida Sun Grown Limited Edition Trunk-Pressed Toro is a joy to smoke.”

Drew Estate Liga Privada No. 9 Toro“When you get your hands on a Toro, though, you’ll find a highly pleasurable, full-bodied cigar with tons of flavor and a fair amount of spice.”

Las Cumbres Tabaco Señorial Corona Gorda No. 5: “After setting an even light with a single wood match, a toasty profile emerges with notes ranging from red pepper and cedar spice to cinnamon butter and dry wood.”

MBombay Gaaja Toro: “My advice is to enjoy this in a quiet, solitary environment with little distraction, and be prepared for a rewarding, distinctive experience.”

Mi Querida Fino Largo“It’s highly satisfying if you’re seeking something musty, earthy, rich, well-constructed, and—in the case of the Fino Largo, especially—strong.”

Ouroboros Lancero (Blue Havana Exclusive): “With superb combustion properties and a price tag around $9, this isn’t a cigar you want to miss—especially if, like me, you’re a fan of RoMa Craft Tobac.”

Partagas Ramon y Ramon Robusto: “The subtlety draws you deeper and deeper into the smoking experience.”

Sobremesa Corona Grande: “The complexity is palpable and highly enjoyable, and the sweetness of the resting smoke is mouth-wateringly intoxicating.”

Sobremesa Gran Imperiales“Just make sure you have enough time to smoke before you light it up; you won’t want to extinguish this large smoke before you hit the nub.”

Tatuaje K222“Once lit, you’ll find loads of powdery smoke with lots of oak, unsweetened chocolate, earth, and pepper spice.”

If you want to know more about our rating system, just click here. We maintain an alphabetical list of all our reviews (going back more than a decade) here, and a special list of five-stogie smokes here.

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys